Saturday, December 03, 2005

Local Plan inspector rules out the importance of the literary landscape at Coate.

You can read some basic information about what the Local Plan inspector said about the Coate policies on the Save Coate newsblog. It is mostly bad news for Jefferies Land although there are some rays of hope.

However, David Fenton had this to say about Jefferies literary landscape:

"I understand the relevance of the Coate landscape to the life and works of local writer Richard Jefferies. Much of his writing has drawn upon his upbringing in the immediate area and is set within this landscape, around Coate, Day House Farm and Coate Water. The development land is a central and integral part of the landscape depicted in his writings. However, I do not find that I can attribute such weight to this factor as to justify turning down the designation of this area for development. To some people Jefferies and his works are an integral part of the literary landscape of Britain. However, it seems to me that he is not known or thought of in the same way as more major figures such as Hardy or Wordsworth. That is not to denigrate his works or to undervalue his contributions, but there does not seem to me to be the weight of acclaim to justify a stop being placed upon the development of this land.

PPS7 makes reference to historic areas, but, overall there is little in national or local policy guidance that would directly support the protection of land such as here at Coate for this reason, regardless of the cultural importance of his writings. The land carries no formal historic designation. Development, although directly affecting the immediate area of Richard Jefferies’ upbringing, would still leave intact some of the landscapes whose virtues he extolled in his writings. In conclusion, I do not consider that it would be justified for the Local Plan to protect this area because of its literary links."